How a local domain registrar screwed us up

I’m writing this in the hope that the local internet industry will try to pursue excellence, small as we are. There’s always a start. Pissing off clients is not.

Years ago, I moved and registered my domains — and my clients’ — to a local domain registrar. They claimed to be cheaper than the cheap domains. But looking back, I actually used their service in support of the local internet companies and not really because of the price. If there’s anyone who offers the same service locally, why would I go out? That’s my principle then — and still is.

Unfortunately, though, this local internet company started missing the essentials. They stopped receiving online payments, forcing clients go to the bank to pay for the domains. Their control panel keeps on failing. Their “mother registrar” — mydomains.com — keeps on emailing me. At one time, I renewed the domain at mydomains.com after I received the email, not from this local company, thinking that “it’ll reflect to my account anyway”. It didn’t.

I had no choice but to slowly move my domains out.

This week, I had enough.

2008 – I started moving my domains out

Oct. 2008 – I changed servers. So I had to change the NS record through the domain control panel. Their control panel was failing when I tried to have one of my busiest local client’s domain changed. So what I did was to call their customer support after my emails are left unanswered. And after about 2 days of trying to reach them via phone, at last, somebody answered! And she agreed to change the NS record manually. It worked.

Jan 5, 2009 – I planned to move the domain (one of the last 2) out. So, to prepare that, I updated my email address via their control panel. Take note, just the email address.  I successfully did that.

Jan 7 – It was Saturday and my client is bugging me. She was freaking out because their website is forwarding to the old server. I checked, and it really was. I noticed that the NS record has reverted back to the old record! Huh!? I didn’t do that? Who would have done that? Or was it an API failure? Meaning, their control panel isn’t speaking correctly with their “mother registrar”? Anyway, I tried to solve the problem by simply changing the NS record back from their control panel. Two hours have passed, 4, 8, a day, and then Monday, nothing was happening!

Jan 9 – I called the customer service and asked why, I have changed the NS record from their control panel but the WHOIS isn’t changing after 2 days. She said, sometimes, they do it manually. Manually? She means that their  control panel actually doesn’t work 100% of the time. So, no time to argue, I have a pissed off client shouting at me, I simply asked her to change the NS manually — again.

Next day – still nothing is happening. My client is loosing her business. I was freaking out. I tried calling the customer support. She was out for the day. I asked, who can I talk to other than her? The answer: none. And the owner is out too. They didn’t offer to call him. Why would they, I’m just one small client with issue on one domain? No big deal. At least to them.

And the next day — I finally reached the one-woman-band customer support. But she was clueless why.

Let me stop here and drive my point. I’m part of the local internet industry. My dream is for us to go head to head with international leaders like India. There are factors that we have no control off — like government support. But there are things that we can control. And by pursuing excellence, we can make a difference. So, local internet industry, let’s learn from this domain registrar’s mistakes:

– poor customer support

– very poor API integration to their provider, affecting their clients in a big way

– lack of reliable and systematic ecommerce facility.

Would you like me to name that local domain registrar? Nah…

  • http://netforj.com andy uyboco

    I actually went into the web development industry because I got screwed several times by unprofessional local companies and freelancers. I thought, if there are these many a–holes in the industry, then there’s probably a big market of clients who are pissed off with their current providers.

    And yes, as much I’d like to support the local industry in terms of hosting, domain registration, etc., I’m sorry to say this but I just don’t trust them enough yet.

    I go direct to US providers for these services simply because they’re cheaper and I’m very satisfied with their customer service.

  • http://netforj.com andy uyboco

    I actually went into the web development industry because I got screwed several times by unprofessional local companies and freelancers. I thought, if there are these many a–holes in the industry, then there’s probably a big market of clients who are pissed off with their current providers.

    And yes, as much I’d like to support the local industry in terms of hosting, domain registration, etc., I’m sorry to say this but I just don’t trust them enough yet.

    I go direct to US providers for these services simply because they’re cheaper and I’m very satisfied with their customer service.

  • http://frjessie.blogspot.com Jessie Somosierra, Jr

    Migrating to owned domain is one of my dreams. This is one of the reason why I am holding back. Wasted time of updating especially if I do not have the control. I hope I have that technicality of yours to be able to give proper solution to this kind of problem

  • http://frjessie.blogspot.com Jessie Somosierra, Jr

    Migrating to owned domain is one of my dreams. This is one of the reason why I am holding back. Wasted time of updating especially if I do not have the control. I hope I have that technicality of yours to be able to give proper solution to this kind of problem

  • http://indisguise.org Angela

    This happened to me too–something similar. My domains were expiring, and I couldn’t get payment out to them, being in another country. Requests for the transfer code went unnoticed. Calling wasn’t helpful, their parent company wasn’t either. Only when I threatened to go public with how shabbily they were treating me, only then did I actually get a working number from them to call, and even then it wasn’t smooth sailing.

    I’ve not talked about it since they did contact me anyway, and I didn’t want to go back on my word. But that was a horrible time. I had the same reasons as you did for choosing them, too. Sigh.

  • http://indisguise.org Angela

    This happened to me too–something similar. My domains were expiring, and I couldn’t get payment out to them, being in another country. Requests for the transfer code went unnoticed. Calling wasn’t helpful, their parent company wasn’t either. Only when I threatened to go public with how shabbily they were treating me, only then did I actually get a working number from them to call, and even then it wasn’t smooth sailing.

    I’ve not talked about it since they did contact me anyway, and I didn’t want to go back on my word. But that was a horrible time. I had the same reasons as you did for choosing them, too. Sigh.

  • http://jed.i.ph joel disini

    Well, you need to look at it from the viewpoint of the local Registrar – what was his profit level from the sale of the COM domain? Perhaps only $1/year. And what was the volume of registrations you were giving him? Then you need to ask if the money he was making would be sufficient to provide the level of service you expect, plus make a healthy profit. We all want to pay as little as possible, and expect good service, but sometimes, you really get what you pay for.

    I’m familiar with the Registrar you are referring to, and we at DotPH have had to service some of their PH domain clients, as their business seems to be having problems. This is probably why even though our volume wholsale price for PH domains is $15, most Registrars still sell PH domains at $35/year or more…

  • http://jed.i.ph joel disini

    Well, you need to look at it from the viewpoint of the local Registrar – what was his profit level from the sale of the COM domain? Perhaps only $1/year. And what was the volume of registrations you were giving him? Then you need to ask if the money he was making would be sufficient to provide the level of service you expect, plus make a healthy profit. We all want to pay as little as possible, and expect good service, but sometimes, you really get what you pay for.

    I’m familiar with the Registrar you are referring to, and we at DotPH have had to service some of their PH domain clients, as their business seems to be having problems. This is probably why even though our volume wholsale price for PH domains is $15, most Registrars still sell PH domains at $35/year or more…

  • http://arnoldgamboa.com Arnold

    Hi Joel,

    Thanks for dropping by. I understand that business nowadays are in trouble, nobody is excluded. Profit may be down. Because of this, this domain registrar may be cutting cost that’s why: 1) there is poor technical support and, 2) poor programming of their web integration to mydomains.com.

    When we experienced this, we had to cut staffing. But we also need to accept only what we can service given the staffing that we have to maintain quality of service to our clients. If the low income coming from being a web registrar can’t support the business, is it wise for this web registrar to continue with this line of business and let their individual clients suffer? It would be unfair to just think about their business and not think about the effects of poor service it can cause to their clients, wouldn’t you think so?

  • http://arnoldgamboa.com Arnold

    Hi Joel,

    Thanks for dropping by. I understand that business nowadays are in trouble, nobody is excluded. Profit may be down. Because of this, this domain registrar may be cutting cost that’s why: 1) there is poor technical support and, 2) poor programming of their web integration to mydomains.com.

    When we experienced this, we had to cut staffing. But we also need to accept only what we can service given the staffing that we have to maintain quality of service to our clients. If the low income coming from being a web registrar can’t support the business, is it wise for this web registrar to continue with this line of business and let their individual clients suffer? It would be unfair to just think about their business and not think about the effects of poor service it can cause to their clients, wouldn’t you think so?

  • http://filipinosg.com/forum h_magyaya

    I bought my very first domain with a local registrar (not the one your referring to). It was my first and last for obvious reasons. And even if they say that they are cheaper the cheapest domain, I won’t buy another.

    On a side note, I always wanted to buy a dotph domain but the price is prohibitive (it takes time to recoup investment for a simple blogger like me who gets revenue from adsense). So it remains a dream.

  • http://filipinosg.com/forum h_magyaya

    I bought my very first domain with a local registrar (not the one your referring to). It was my first and last for obvious reasons. And even if they say that they are cheaper the cheapest domain, I won’t buy another.

    On a side note, I always wanted to buy a dotph domain but the price is prohibitive (it takes time to recoup investment for a simple blogger like me who gets revenue from adsense). So it remains a dream.

  • Pingback: How a local domain registrar screwed us up — Resurgence 2.0()

  • http://jed.i.ph joel disini

    Well, this Registrar should have either
    1) sold the business
    2) raised his prices
    3) decided to shut down, and given his subscribers prior notice so they coordinate with his “upstream” Registar.
    Sometimes shutting down a business can be a very painful decision, and most business owners end up postponing this decision.

  • http://jed.i.ph joel disini

    Well, this Registrar should have either
    1) sold the business
    2) raised his prices
    3) decided to shut down, and given his subscribers prior notice so they coordinate with his “upstream” Registar.
    Sometimes shutting down a business can be a very painful decision, and most business owners end up postponing this decision.

  • richard

    hey arnold! i am a frequent blog-hopper and stumbled on what seems to be a popular Filipino travel blog but with atheistic posts… coconuter ang tawag sa kanya ( http://blog.coconuter.org )… basahin mo yung “The Catholic Ordination of the Filipino” and “The Philippine Insurrection and the American War Prayer.” What do you think about his thoughts?
    -chard

  • richard

    hey arnold! i am a frequent blog-hopper and stumbled on what seems to be a popular Filipino travel blog but with atheistic posts… coconuter ang tawag sa kanya ( http://blog.coconuter.org )… basahin mo yung “The Catholic Ordination of the Filipino” and “The Philippine Insurrection and the American War Prayer.” What do you think about his thoughts?
    -chard